New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): To determine the awareness of air quality among the residents of Delhi-NCR, a study conducted by an NGO revealed that air pollution affects the health of 1,445 respondents (82.2 per cent) out of 1,757 people.
Out of 82.2 per cent respondents, 38.8 per cent of them have visited the hospital due to respiratory discomfort in the last one year.
The study was done among people between 21 to 50 years of age residing in Delhi-NCR in the last one year. It consisted of 31.2 per cent females and 68.8 per cent males.
The survey was conducted by Delhi based NGO, Lung Care Foundation. It was supported by the United States Embassy in New Delhi under the project name- "Saaf Hawa Aur Naagrik (SHAN).
Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman of Center for Chest Surgery Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said the study plays an important role in a city like Delhi where levels of air pollution are regularly monitored by the government but awareness on air pollution is minimal in the 'deprived section of society'.
"The reason we took these groups of people for study as they have huge exposure to air pollution, availability of resources is less to them and their bodies are weak," he said.
He stressed that the survey highlights that the public is aware that poor air quality affects their health but is not aware of the extent of the damage.
In the survey, more than one-third, 38.8 per cent of respondents said they or their family members visited the hospital due to respiratory discomfort in the last one year. These individuals could be at high-risk if they get COVID-19 infection, Dr Kumar said.
He added that for patients having pre-existing lung ailments are more vulnerable to catch COVID-19 infection. Therefore, they should be extra careful.
Dr Kumar, who is also a Founder and Managing Trustee of Lung Care Foundation, said, "The survey pointed out that people really want to play their role as a citizen to participate in the government initiatives to achieve clean air for better health and wellbeing of residents of Delhi-NCR.""The survey also highlighted the hope and commitment to achieve clean air. 78.7 per cent of respondents agreed to support the steps taken by the government to reduce air pollution even if the steps might cause them inconvenience. While 77 per cent of respondents said they would make a behavioural change to use more public transport," he said.
Approximately, 92.2 per cent of respondents were not aware of the difference between PM2.5 and PM1o and 83.6 per cent did not know about the Air Quality Index (AQI).
The survey was released ahead of the World Environment Day, which is scheduled to be celebrated on June 5. (ANI)